I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.
The “should-be” universal motto for all comic book/ genera writers.
You see for some time *cough – all my writing career – cough* I have been making a point that just now seems to be dawning on people – at least when it comes to public attentions sake, because I mean I’m not conceded enough to think it 100% my own brains doing (though I am working on it.)
Seriously though it comes down to one phrase, put perfectly by one Kelly Sue DeConnick, when being asked that ever fervent question “How do you write a strong, smart, funny, all around good female character?” Her pat answer: “ Pretend they’re people.” read: Pretend they’re people
Exactamundo! Pretend they’re people. The article and writer Sara Kern come to the conclusion that this answer was the same one that made the active white man interesting way back in the day when Stan Lee created his own kind of superhero.. You know the one with humanity.
I will never forget when I was getting into comic books, just a wee little youngster full of excitement and eagerness to consume fully this ever-growing universe of multi dimensional characters *Breath*
I was watching a History Channel special on Marvel comics when Stan “The Man” himself said something along the lines of “Once you can get past the fantastical; the radioactive spiders, fancy powers, and extraordinary circumstances, its real life.”
This impacted the rest of my life – cross my heart and pledge allegiance. Because that’s how I write. It doesn’t matter who, how, when or where, the basic, base line justice any writer can give a character is to treat them as a real person reacting to their circumstances, however fantastical or hum-drum they may be.
Science fact is based in science fiction. Everything we now know to be true or fact was once just a fantastical idea. If there is a basis in possibility then what is so irreverent about it? Hokey about it? What makes it any less real? Any less serious? Interesting writing means interesting characters and character development. Period.
Why should it matter if they are female, male, white, black, ethnic, a minority, gay straight, trans, everything and anything a human being can ever be! If you are treating your “subject” with the respect of humanity then you are treating their community with the same. This will make the difference. This is what will make it mainstream. Not to wave them around as a token banner of good for me and my brand. Or a good attention grabbing stunt.
These are characters. They may feel like make-believe but who they are stands for a lot to the very real person reading, watching, identifying with your character. So make it worth it. Work on writing a well established, diverse universe that is interesting. Not because you need to or have to, but because people are interesting.
People are diverse and ever-changing. People are different. All kinds exist. The more we make it the norm for them to just exist, the easier we make it for them just to exist, the better we can enjoy the differences and the faster and more natural the mainstream solution to an out of touch, ignorant, and out of date problem, the faster the “fantastical’ becomes just like real life.